Morrisons increases demand for native beef breeds

Retailer Morrisons has announced a major scheme that will see it increase its demand for native British beef breeds – particularly Beef Shorthorn cattle – by almost 10%.

The initiative is open to all British native breeds and their crosses, and will increase the number of native breeds through its three Woodhead Brothers’ abattoirs by 16,000 cattle per year. Morrisons will pay a 10p/kg premium for cattle over the Woodhead Brothers’ base price, with a special premium on eligible Beef Shorthorn cattle of 20p/kg in total, or up to £75/head.

Farmers wishing to join the scheme will need to be farm-assured and agree to finish the cattle on a specially developed cereal-based diet. This is a new feeding regime established by Morrisons, following research with Beef Shorthorns at its farm at Dumfries House in order to enhance the qualities of the beef and produce a premium product. 

Morrisons has also formed a partnership with the Beef Shorthorn Society to promote the use of registered and DNA-recorded Beef Shorthorn bulls in the UK suckler herd.

Frank Milnes, secretary of the Shorthorn Society, said: “There were 27,000 Beef Shorthorn and Shorthorn cross calves registered by British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) last year. This record number shows how the commercial value of the breed is more widely recognised than ever before. A major attraction of the breed has been the ability to produce functional suckler cows: now that we have a premium scheme for Shorthorn beef, even more farmers will be encouraged to use the Beef Shorthorn bull in their commercial suckler herds. It’s a win-win situation.”

The push to promote the breed will kick off at the National Beef Association (NBA) Expo this week, with a competition to win £250 off the purchase price of a registered Beef Shorthorn Bull.


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